A woman I know married a guy the same year that I married my wife. In the years since, her husband worked maybe 30 days, never supported his children, and eventually walked away from his family. On the other hand, I don’t believe I have missed much over 30 days work. I’m not bragging; I am merely irritated that he was so lazy that his family was compelled to draw welfare.
The Apostle Paul told the Timothy that elders of the Church should be paid, especially those who preach and teach. Indeed, close reading of that passage shows that Paul felt pastors should be paid double the normal salary. “Workmen,” he said, “are worthy to be hired.”
On the other hand, Paul valued his churches so much that it seems he never took payment. Instead, he earned his keep across the Mediterranean and Europe by working as a tent maker, a skill he had learned as a boy in Tarsus.
As we continue to look at 1 Thessalonians 4, we see that Paul links work – specifically working with one’s hands – to living a sanctified life. Work, in this passage, is also closely connected to living a quiet life.
The question is: why? Why does Paul link sanctification, which is an act of the Holy Spirit, to work, which is commonly considered an act of our own strength?
Here’s the thing, sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit that rids the believe of the carnal (sinful) nature and replaces it with the nature of Christ). In return, we are so full of the love of God that we want God to be in control of every aspect of our lives. We want Him to clean the muck out of even the darkest corners and replace it with the light of His love. As a result, we even give Him our work, our labor, our jobs.
Those of us who accept Jesus as our Savior but never make Him Lord of our lives… those of us who ask Him to save us but never let him have dominion over our hearts and minds… those of us who are saved, but never allow His Holy Spirit to fill us with His love, will find that we soon burn out, soon wear out, and soon return to our old habits and old ways.
By the way, I have not forgotten about the part of the verse that reads, “Mind your own business.” Well look at that, and the connection between work and peace later.
According to Apostle Paul in Thessalonians chapter 4, if we have been sanctified, then we will turn away from sexual immorality, love one another more and more, find peace and quiet in our lives, mind our own business, and earn our keep.